From Constitutional Convention to Republic Referendum: A Guide to the Processes, the Issues and the Participants


Research Paper 25 1998-99

Professor John Warhurst
Consultant,
Politics and Public Administration Group
29 June 1999

Contents

Major Issues

Introduction

Debating the Republic

Chronology

Purpose of the Constitutional Convention

Outcomes of the Constitutional Convention

The Bipartisan Appointment of the President Model

The Referendum Process

Public Opinion

Major Participants in The Debate

Issues for Resolution during 1999

Conclusion

Endnotes

Appendix 1: Delegates to the 1998 Constitutional Convention

Appendix 2: Summary of Constitutional Referendums

Appendix 3: Opinion Polls on an Australian Republic

Appendix 4: Poll Data

Appendix 5: Governments and Political Parties

Appendix 6: YES Community Organisations

Appendix 7: NO Community Organisations

Appendix 8: The YES and NO Campaign Organisations

Appendix 9: Educational Organisations

Appendix 10: Some Additional Public Figures

 

Major Issues

This paper provides the background necessary for an understanding of the context of the republic referendum to be held on 6 November 1999. Its purpose is not to critically examine the contending arguments being put by monarchists and republicans, as this has been done already by the participants and others, but rather to provide a guide to the processes, issues and participants. In particular, the paper sketches:

  • the contemporary evolution of the monarchy-republic debate
  • the pattern of public opinion
  • the emergence of the key community organisations
  • the Constitutional Convention in February 1998
  • the referendum process
  • the positions adopted by the political parties
  • the positions adopted by Commonwealth and state government leaders
  • the way in which political institutions, such as the executive and the parliament, are processing the issue, and
  • the likely dynamics and shape of events over the final six months before the referendum.

The aim of the paper is to enable those interested in the referendum to follow the debate as it unfolds by identifying the roles and positions of the key actors. Contact addresses of the major players and suggestions for further reading are included for this purpose. Cross-references are given to a wide range of complementary papers and notes produced by Information and Research Services.

Introduction

This paper aims to be a guide to the participants, issues and processes in the debate leading up to the constitutional referendum to decide whether Australia will become a republic. While there is some discussion of the debate about the preamble this paper is not meant to be a guide to that issue.

It concentrates particularly on the years 1998-1999, especially from the February 1998 Constitutional Convention (CC) to April 1999, in the lead-up to the November 1999 referendum. But to put these years in their proper context and to explain the emergence of the key organisations and individual personalities, the account of the whole decade must be told.

The referendum has focused the debate. It will be conducted according to well-worn constitutional provisions, which are spelled out in the Constitution and elaborated in legislation for the conduct of referenda. But it also has its own unusual characteristics. These include the pre-eminent role played by community organisations in a formally non-partisan referendum. Furthermore, the referendum is being put by a prime minister who is personally opposed to the change, but who has declared that he will play no active part in the campaign.

Processes

Australian debate about republicanism became serious, if the measure is some prospect of constitutional change, in the 1990s. The decade has seen a transformation of the debate though the emergence of organised groups in the community, changing attitudes within the political parties and a generalised concern with constitutional reform as the centenary of federation approaches on 1 January 2001.

The key events have been those that have brought closer the likelihood of a government putting before the parliament a bill to have the issue considered by the Australian people at a constitutional referendum held under section 128 of the constitution. They have included:

  • the appointment of the Republic Advisory Committee by the Keating Labor Government in May 1993
  • the address by the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, to the Parliament on 7 June 1995 in which he set a timetable of a republic by 2001
  • the campaign promise by the victorious Coalition parties at the March 1996 federal elections to call a people's convention to address the issue
  • the holding of the Constitutional Convention at Old Parliament House in Canberra in February 1998
  • the recommendations by the Constitutional Convention that a republican model be put to the people at a referendum towards the end of 1999, and
  • the mechanisms and processes being put in place during 1999 by the Howard Government.

Issues

The general debate about the competing virtues of monarchy and republic has been shaped by the events of the 1990s. The focus has been the adoption of the so-called 'minimalist' model by Paul Keating's Labor government and the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) and its reincarnation, with amendments, as the Bipartisan Parliamentary Appointment of the President model as the preferred model of the Constitutional Convention.

By the time of the elections for the Constitutional Convention the organised opponents of change, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM), were campaigning behind the slogan 'No Republic'. The elements of their campaign are:

  • the existing constitution has served Australia well and is not 'broke'
  • no substantial arguments have been put forward for radical constitutional change
  • there are no discernible benefits
  • the move to a republic might destabilise the political system
  • the preferred republican model has particular weaknesses, such as the unrestricted ability of the Prime Minister to dismiss the President, and
  • there is no hurry for change even if the republic is inevitable in the long term.

The elections for the Constitutional Convention brought into the open the different strands in a republican movement dominated until that stage by the 'minimalist' Australian Republican Movement. These other republicans almost always wanted more expansive change. They held caucus meetings during the convention to organise opposition to a president elected by Parliament. After the convention a majority of these delegates, led by Ted Mack, Phil Cleary and Clem Jones formed the Real Republicans. Other direct election republicans, including Reverend Tim Costello, chose to join the YES campaign.

These 'direct election' or 'popular election' republicans argue that the minimalist model is too narrowly conceived. They argue that direct election of the president is:

  • an expression of 'real' republicanism, meaning citizen sovereignty
  • a democratic step because public opinion polls suggest that it is what the majority of Australians want, and
  • a step towards opening up and reshaping the whole Australian political system.

They argue, furthermore, that, by contrast, parliamentary election of the president is:

  • a very conservative and unacceptably limited change, and
  • an outcome favoured by the existing political party establishment because it leaves control of the presidency in their hands.

The mainstream proponents of the YES case advocate the middle position. They are driven by the central nationalist argument that:

  • the present constitutional monarchy, whereby the British monarch is also the Australian Head of State, is unacceptable because the Australian Head of State ought be an Australian citizen.

They argue, furthermore, that:

  • the hereditary nature of the monarchy is undemocratic, not allowing appointment by merit and excluding in this case women and those who are not Anglicans, and
  • the minimalist change will effectively not change anything other than replacing the Governor-General with the President.

This emphasis on the conservative nature of the proposed change appeals particularly to an organisation that emerged early in 1999, Conservatives for an Australian Head of State. It is especially critical of the proposals for direct election of the president, which they see as potentially destabilising. They advocate that conservative Australians should support the YES case not only on its merits but also because, should it be defeated, the alternative is likely be more radical change.

Participants

There are three categories of participants actively involved in the republic debate:

  • governments and political parties
  • community organisations and individuals advocating YES or NO, and
  • politically neutral organisations engaged in political education and analysis.

The Australian Labor Party is formally committed to a republic as is the Australian Democrats. The Liberal Party and the National Party are each committed to the status quo. The Prime Minister has made it clear that party discipline will not apply to this issue within the Liberal Party and that, while he remains a monarchist, republicans within the party are free to vote and campaign according to their conscience. The National Party has remained solidly monarchist and none of its current parliamentarians have publicly supported a republic.

The main republican community organisation is the non-partisan ARM. There are also nascent organisations called the YES Coalition in most states and territories composed of ARM members and other prominent citizens, including some direct election republicans advocating a YES vote. Standing to one side is another organisation, Conservatives for an Australian Head of State (CAHS).

The main monarchist organisation is ACM. There are also other community organisations, such as the Australian Monarchist League (AML). At the elections for the Constitutional Convention there were some successful monarchist electoral organisations, such as Safeguard the People and Constitutional Monarchists. By 1999 ACM, like its opposite number ARM in the case of republicans, appears to have become the spokesperson for monarchists.

The direct election republicans opposed to the preferred republican model have only recently begun to organise. Their main organisation is Real Republicans.

Since 1991 the Constitutional Centenary Foundation, funded by the Commonwealth and state governments, has pursued public education on constitutional reform matters.

The YES and NO advocates in the political parties and the community organisations have been brought together in the official committees for the advertising for the referendum for the republic. The YES committee has ARM, CAHS, Labor, Liberal and Democrat representatives, while the NO committee has ACM, National and Liberal representatives as well as two direct election republicans. So the referendum campaign will be a three-sided campaign about a two-sided question.

Debating the Republic

Australians have long discussed the idea of replacing the constitutional monarchy with a republican constitution, even during the 19th century before federation in 1901. This discussion has continued during the 20th century. But republicans have been in a minority and the issue has always been peripheral to the main political debate.(1)

From the 1960s onwards, public debate quickened and well-known public identities, such as Geoffrey Dutton, Donald Horne and Max Harris, declared themselves to be republicans.(2) But none of the major political parties were committed to the republic and republicans remained in the clear minority according to public opinion polls. The 1975 constitutional crisis drew attention to Australia's constitutional arrangements and over the years that followed the Australian Labor Party edged towards declaring itself for the republic. This it eventually did in 1982.(3) It was in this context that there was considerable criticism of the appointment of the former Labor leader, Bill Hayden as Governor-General in 1989. He was presumed to be a republican.

The 1990s is the decade in which the republican debate has flourished, generated by community action and reaction.(4) In April 1991 a Constitutional Centenary Conference was held in Sydney, convened by leading legal figures. From this meeting the Constitutional Centenary Foundation was created. On 7 July 1991 the Australian Republican Movement, the first major republican organisation, was launched by author, Tom Keneally. In turn this led to similar organisational efforts to defend the status quo and, less than a year later, on 4 June 1992, ACM held their first public meeting.

Chronology

3-5 April 1991

Constitutional Centenary Conference, Sydney

7 July 1991

Australian Republican Movement launched, Sydney

4 June 1992

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy first public meeting, Sydney

28 April 1993

Republic Advisory Committee established

5 October 1993

Republic Advisory Committee reports

7 June 1995

Paul Keating commits his government to a republic by 2001

8 June 1995

John Howard proposes a People's Convention

26 March 1997

Constitution Convention (Election) Bill second reading

3 November-9 December 1997

Voting for Elected Delegates to Constitutional Convention

29-30 January 1998

Women's Constitutional Convention, Canberra

2-13 February 1998

Constitutional Convention meets in Canberra

19 February1999

YES and NO campaign teams announced

9 March 1999

Release of Exposure Drafts of the Constitutional Alteration (Establishment of Republic) Bill 1999 and of the Presidential Nominations Committee Bill 1999

Some state premiers had also entered the debate on both sides and became important figures in the debate. Of greatest political significance was the emergence of a pro-republic Liberal State premier, Nick Greiner, in NSW. Greiner served to make republicanism a bipartisan issue.

Paul Keating replaced Bob Hawke as Labor Prime Minister in December 1991 and immediately began to advance issues of national identity. On 24 February 1993, in his policy speech just before the March 1993 federal elections, Keating announced his intention to form 'a committee of eminent Australians to develop a discussion paper that would consider the options for an Australian republic'.(5) This committee, the Republic Advisory Committee (RAC) was established on 28 April 1993. The chair was Malcolm Turnbull of the ARM. The other members included Greiner; Mary Kostakidis, SBS TV presenter and CCF member; Lois O'Donoghue, chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission; Susan Ryan, former Labor Senator and Minister for Education; George Winterton, Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales; Dr Glyn Davis of the School of Politics and Public Policy at Griffith University, who was the nominee of the Queensland Premier; and Namoi Dougall, a solicitor, who was the nominee of the NSW Premier (each State premier had been asked to put forward names for consideration).(6)

The RAC reported on 5 October 1993 and concluded that a republic was achievable. It was 'both legally and practically possible to amend the Constitution to achieve a republic without making changes which will in any way detract from the fundamental constitutional principles on which our system of government is based'.(7) The Keating government committed itself to this position and, on 7 June 1995, Keating gave a televised address to parliament in which he reiterated this view and set a timetable of a republic by 2001.(8) By now public opinion surveys (see below) suggested that a majority of Australians joined the ALP in supporting in principle the move to a republic, as did the Australian Democrats. So it had thus become an issue of some urgency for the Coalition parties to address.

The early 1990s saw a quickening of the debate and a number of books were published, by academics and activists, examining the constitutional and political issues.(9) Most of these authors wrote in favour of the move to a republic.

Earlier, in November 1994, the then Leader of the Opposition, Alexander Downer, had suggested the idea of a people's convention to discuss the issue, a procedure advocated by the Constitutional Centenary Foundation. This first step later enabled the subsequent Opposition Leader, John Howard, to put forward a more detailed proposal along these lines in response to Paul Keating's June 1995 initiative.

When the Coalition parties won the March 1996 federal elections this proposal was part of its campaign promises but the republic did not play a major part in its campaign. At the time the Labor Government countered with a proposal for an indicative plebiscite (a non-binding vote) that would test support for a republic in principle before proceeding to a referendum on a particular model.(10)

The Howard government proceeded to implement its proposal and from that time onwards the debate narrowed. The Constitutional Convention (Election) Bill 1997 received its second reading on 26 March 1997. The bill was held up in the Senate for some time because it proposed that the 76 elected delegates would be elected by voluntary postal ballot rather than by in-person compulsory voting. Eventually the bill passed through the Senate and planning for the election proceeded.(11)

On 12 September the date of the election was announced. Voting papers were mailed out in the period 3-14 November and the polling closed on 9 December. The results were notified on 24 December.

Elections were held in each state and territory for a total of 76 delegates. The distribution of seats was: New South Wales (20); Victoria (16); Queensland (13); Western Australia (9); South Australia (8); Tasmania (6); Australian Capital Territory (2); and Northern Territory (2). A Senate-style voting method was used. The turnout was 46.93 per cent of eligible voters. Under the circumstances this was quite a respectable turnout. But it did leave open the question of whether this was a representative sample and just what the views of the remaining 53 per cent would be at any subsequent referendum.

There were 609 candidates including 80 groups and 176 non-aligned individuals.(12) The two largest groups, ARM and ACM, polled the lion's share of the votes and won the bulk of the elected positions. ARM polled 30.34 per cent and ACM polled 22.51 per cent.(13) Republican candidates led the count in NSW, Victoria, WA, ACT and NT, while monarchists won in Queensland, SA and Tasmania.(14) The successful candidates are listed in Appendix 1.

The Prime Minister appointed the other 76 delegates: 40 parliamentary and 36 non-parliamentary.(15) The parliamentary delegates were divided between Commonwealth and state representatives. The Commonwealth representatives included both all the party leaders and some backbenchers. The state representatives included the State premiers and opposition leaders and the chief ministers of the ACT and the Northern Territory. The non-parliamentary delegates included seven youth delegates, some indigenous leaders such as Lowitja O'Donoghue and Gatjil Djerkurra (past and present chairs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission), prominent women such as Professor Judith Sloan, Julie Bishop (now MHR), Dame Leonie Kramer, Helen Lynch, and Dame Roma Mitchell; church leaders such as Anglican Archbishop Peter Hollingworth and Catholic Archbishop George Pell; and other prominent Australian men, including Professor Geoffrey Blainey, Major-General William 'Digger' James, Bill Hayden, Professor Greg Craven, Sir Arvi Parbo, Peter Sams and Lloyd Waddy. The Prime Minister also appointed two senior parliamentarians: Ian Sinclair (National Party) and Barry Jones (ALP) as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Convention. The full list of appointed delegates is also given in Appendix 1.

The Constitutional Convention met at Old Parliament House in Canberra for ten working days, 2-13 February 1998. The convention was televised and it attracted considerable and favourable attention from both the media and the public who were able to watch the proceedings from the visitors' galleries.(16)

Just before the Constitutional Convention a Women's Constitutional Convention (WCC) was held in Canberra on 29-30 January 1998. The WCC was convened by representatives of Australian Women Lawyers, Constitutional Centenary Foundation, National Women's Justice Coalition, Women's Electoral Lobby, Women into Politics and YWCA Australia. WCC aimed to 'ensure that the debate concerning the potential shift to a republic is not one-sided but includes the interests of women'.(17)

It was a successful event, attended by 300 delegates, including a number who would be attending the Constitutional Convention itself. While it added to the momentum for a republic it did not support a particular model. However a majority of delegates indicated their wish to go beyond a minimalist republic. It was reported that a majority 'endorsed a republic that recognised and accepted indigenous Australians, enshrined gender equity in the political process, promoted social cohesion, political stability and a democratic culture, and included a bill of rights'.(18)

Purpose of the Constitutional Convention

The convention had a narrowly defined purpose. It was asked by the Prime Minister to consider three questions:

  • first, whether or not Australia should become a republic
  • secondly which republic model should be put to the voters to consider against the current system of government, and
  • thirdly, in what time frame and under what circumstances might any change be considered.

In his opening address to the Convention, John Howard promised delegates that:

if clear support for a particular republican model emerged from the Convention, my government would, if returned at the next election, put that model to the Australian people in a referendum before the end of 1999.(19)

Then, if the referendum was successful, Howard promised the convention that the republic would be put in place for 1 January 2001 which would be the Centenary of Federation and the birth of the new millennium.

Outcomes of the Constitutional Convention

Of the Prime Minister's three questions:

  • the Constitutional Convention supported, in principle, the idea that Australia should become a republic. This resolution was carried by 89 votes to 52 with 11 abstentions
  • the Convention supported the Bipartisan Appointment of the President Model by 73 votes in favour to 57 against with 22 abstentions. While this was less than an absolute majority it was declared carried by the chair and a motion of dissent in the chair's ruling was overwhelmingly defeated, and
  • the Convention voted to recommend to the Prime Minister and Parliament that this model be put to a referendum by 133 votes to 17 with two abstentions. It recommended that the referendum be held in 1999 and that if successful the republic should come into effect by 1 January 2001.

The Convention also discussed the implications for the states.(20) It resolved

That the Commonwealth Government and parliament extend an invitation to State Governments and Parliaments to consider:

  • the implications for their respective Constitutions of any proposal that Australia become a republic; and
  • the consequences to the Federation if one or more States should decline to accept republican status.

In any case it resolved that State autonomy not be infringed.

In choosing the Bipartisan Appointment of the President Model the Convention preferred it to three other models. The first, moved by the WA Opposition Leader Dr Geoffrey Gallop, was the Direct Election Model, involving:

the election of the head of state by the Australian people following a two-stage process for identifying candidates.(21) ... 'not less than three candidates would be selected from the nominees by a special majority of a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate'.

The second, moved by the former Governor-General Bill Hayden, was another direct election model. It involved 'nomination of candidates for the election by way of petition endorsed by at least one percent of voters'.(22)

The third, moved by the former Victorian Governor, Richard McGarvie and hence known as the McGarvie Model, involved the least change from the present system. Under this model the head of state would be appointed by a new, three person Constitutional Council whose only role would be to ratify the Prime Minister's selection. Any citizen could put a name forward to the Prime Minister.

The choice of model was carried out by exhaustive ballot. The Hayden Model received only four votes and was eliminated in the first round. Then the Direct Election Model was narrowly eliminated in the second round after receiving 30 votes.

Finally, the Bipartisan Appointment Model prevailed in the final round with 73 votes to 32 votes for the McGarvie Model, 43 for no model and three abstentions.

The second major issue considered was whether the Constitution should include a new preamble, while allowing for the existing preamble to remain intact.

The Convention recommended that there should be a new preamble including the following elements:

  • introductory language in the form 'We the people of Australia'
  • reference to 'Almighty God'
  • references to the origins of the Constitution and acknowledgment that the Commonwealth has evolved into an independent, democratic and sovereign nation under the Crown
  • recognition of our federal system of representative democracy and responsible government
  • affirmation of the rule of law
  • acknowledgment of the original occupancy and custodianship of Australia by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • recognition of Australia's cultural diversity
  • affirmation of respect for our unique land and the environment
  • reference to the people of Australia having agreed to reconstitute our system of government as a republic, and
  • concluding language to the effect that '[we the people of Australia] asserting our sovereignty, commit ourselves to this constitution'.

It also agreed that some other matters might be considered for inclusion in the Constitution. These included the following:

  • affirmation of the equality of all people before the law
  • recognition of gender equality, and
  • recognition that Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders have continuing rights by virtue of their status as Australia's indigenous peoples.

It was resolved that the preamble should not be used to interpret the other provisions of the Constitution and that this stipulation should be written into chapter three of the Constitution which deals with the judicature.(23)

Finally, the Convention recommended a continuing process of constitutional review. It resolved:

that, if a republican system of government should be introduced by referendum, at a date being not less than three years or more than five years thereafter the Commonwealth Government should convene a further Constitutional Convention.(24)

The first item on the agenda of such a convention, for which two-thirds of the delegates would be directly elected by the people, would be to review the operation of the new system of government. It would also be able to address many other matter related to the new arrangements, including ways to better involve people in the political process.

The Bipartisan Appointment of the President Model

The Convention recommended that the Prime Minister should present to a Joint Sitting of the Parliament a 'single nomination for the office of President, seconded by the Leader of the Opposition'.(25) The nomination would need the approval/support of a two-thirds majority.

In presenting a single name the Prime Minister would take into account the report of a committee established by Parliament to consider nominations.

This committee should be:

of a workable size, its composition should have a balance between parliamentary (including representatives of all parties with party status in the Commonwealth Parliament) and community membership and take into account so far as practicable considerations of federalism, gender, age and cultural diversity.(26)

Nominations should be invited from as wide a range of individuals and organisations as possible so as 'to ensure that the Australian people are consulted as thoroughly as possible'.(27) Consultation shall involve the whole community, including 'State and Territory Parliaments; local government; community organisations, and individual members of the public'.(28)

The Committee should compile a short-list of candidates for consideration by the Prime Minister, being mindful in doing so of 'community diversity'. No nomination should be made public without the consent of the nominee. The qualification for office is that the person be an Australian citizen qualified to be a member of the House of Representatives under s 44 of the Constitution.

The term of office is five years. The President can be dismissed 'at any time by a notice in writing signed by the Prime Minister'.(29) This action would have to be approved within 30 days by the House of Representatives. If it was not approved this would constitute a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

The powers of the President would be 'the same as those currently exercised by the Governor-General'.(30) To achieve this the Convention recommended that Parliament:

  • spell out as far as practicable the powers that are exercised on the advice of ministers (known as non-reserve powers), and
  • issue a statement that 'the reserve powers and the conventions relating to their exercise continue to exist'.

The Referendum Process(31)

In his introduction to the report of the Constitutional Convention the Chairman, the Rt Hon. Ian Sinclair, noted that the outcomes of the convention, including the recommendation that the Republic question be put to the people at a referendum, 'should be assessed against the history of rejection of constitutional change'.(32) He further noted that 'only eight of the 42 propositions submitted by referendum have been approved'. The details of all the constitutional referendums held so far are to be found in Appendix 2.

This means that it is difficult to achieve constitutional change by constitutional referendums. Various reasons are advanced for these unpromising results ranging from the conservatism of the Australian people in resisting positive changes to the perspicacity of the Australian people in resisting 'grabs for power' by the central government. However it should be noted that the Australian record might not be too conservative at all when it is compared with attempts to change constitutional arrangements in other comparable countries, such as Canada.(33) Constitutional change is rarely easy to achieve because in all countries it involves the most major changes possible and is, therefore, conducted according to stringent rules.(34)

There is, however, general agreement that any significant party political opposition to a referendum proposal will spell its defeat. This was the case on the occasion of the most recent referendums, in 1988, when four proposals were so overwhelmingly defeated (no proposal achieved even 40 per cent support) that the future of constitutional change by referendum appeared to be bleak.(35) Consequently, one strategy has been to attempt to 'depoliticise constitutional change' in an attempt to 'build constitutional change on effective consensus'.(36) In the past this non-partisan consensus-building has been undertaken by constitutional committees and commissions, most recently by the Constitutional Commission in the 1980s. On this occasion the Constitutional Convention served this purpose.

The formal process of alteration of the constitution by referendum is set out in section 128 of the Constitution. It is a two-stage process: initiation by the parliament and ratification by the people. First, the proposed bill must be passed by both houses of the Commonwealth Parliament (although under certain limited circumstances the Governor-General can authorise a referendum question which has only passed one house). Secondly, the proposal must be put to the people and passed at a referendum.

The referendum campaign is accompanied by government distribution to each household of a pamphlet including the cases for YES and NO (each in 2000 words or less) and a statement outlining the textual alterations and additions to the Constitution that have been proposed. This is in accordance with the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act, 1984.(37) The preparation and authorisation of these cases is the responsibility of those parliamentarians who voted accordingly in the parliament. The NO case is prepared only if there are votes against the bill in the Parliament.

The limitations of this method of informing electors have previously been recognised.(38) The government has been prevented from spending any other money in support of the YES case, whatever spending is undertaken by other organisations, including state governments. The official arguments have tended to be partisan cases rather than the provision of reasonably factual information. It is for these reasons that alterations to the process have been agreed to under the Referendum Legislation Amendment Bill 1999 (see below).

Once the vote has been taken the proposed change is approved if two majorities are achieved: an overall majority of voters and a majority of voters in a majority (i.e. four or more) of the states. The votes from the two territories are only counted in the calculation of the national result. These requirements have caused some referendums to fail. Five proposals, including most recently Simultaneous Elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1977, have failed despite attracting overall majorities.(39) There have been no cases of the reverse occurring.

Public Opinion

Surveys of Australian attitudes towards the monarchy and republican constitutional change have been undertaken by polling organisations since 1953, at which time support for a republic was 15 per cent.(40) Appendices 3 and 4 contain the pro-republic and pro-monarchy percentages from then until February 1999.(41) Analysts of these surveys point out that they need to be interpreted cautiously as the wording of the questions is rarely identical and attitudes vary according to the question asked.

Majority community support as measured by public opinion polls does not necessarily translate into majority support for the YES case at a referendum. Support may evaporate during the referendum campaign. In one famous case of this the Menzies government's referendum to ban the Communist Party in 1951 was defeated, after a NO campaign led by the Labor Party leader Dr H. V. Evatt, despite previously enjoying apparent majority community support.(42)

Broadly speaking Australians favoured the monarchy until the 1990s. There was not a single case of a majority for the republic, although the size of the minority steadily increased, reaching about 25 per cent in the 1960s and about 30 per cent in the 1970s. During the 1980s the majority for the monarchy was usually about 60 per cent with about 30 per cent supporting a republic and about 10 per cent undecided.(43)

This changed quite quickly in the 1990s for reasons discussed earlier. They included growing nationalism stimulated by earlier events such as the 1988 Bicentennial celebrations, the changing character of the Australian community and the active support for a republic now emanating from some community organisations and political parties. In 1991-92 support for republicanism increased and individual surveys began to report either majority opinion (more than 50 per cent) or plurality opinion (greater than support for the monarchy but less than 50 per cent because of undecided respondents) in favour of a republic.

Attitudes towards the monarchy/republic vary according to the social and political background of the respondents in ways that are generally not surprising given the general character of Australian political life. Liberal and National voters are much more likely to support the monarchy than Labor voters. So too are a number of other categories, including: women rather than men; older rather than younger citizens; rural rather than urban residents; members of the main Protestant denominations rather than Catholics and those of no religious affiliation; and Australians born in England rather than other Australians.(44) As for regional differences, according to one study, Queenslanders and Tasmanians stand out as supporters of the status quo.(45)

By the time of the Constitutional Convention in February 1998 surveys regularly reported a majority in favour of an Australian republic (though this is not to say that this is how Australians would have voted at a referendum).(46) As the ARM/Keating minimalist model became more clearly defined surveys began to test public opinion towards this particular model. They reported that faced with a choice between a president directly elected by the people and a president elected by parliament a large majority supported the former. For instance, a poll taken in the first week of February 1998, during the Constitutional Convention, reported that 66 per cent supported election by popular vote compared with election by Parliament (17 per cent) and the McGarvie model (10 per cent).(47) When pitted against the status quo only the popular election model produced a majority for the republic. At the Constitutional Convention itself advocates of direct election, notably Associate Professor Patrick O'Brien from WA, made great play of these survey results.(48)

Since then most surveys have addressed this aspect of the question as well as opinion for/against the republic. Surveys continue to show majority support for a directly elected president. They show also that, despite continued majority support for a republic the parliamentary model that was recommended by the Constitutional Convention would not have majority support and would fail to pass. For instance, this was the case in both an Age/AC Nielsen poll in January 1999 and a Newspoll survey in March 1999.(49) The former, presented under the headline 'Voters reject republic' reported that only 41 per cent would vote for a republic with an appointed president. The figure in the latter was only 33 per cent and the headline was 'Republic case in crisis'. Yet on both occasions general support for a republic was far greater, by about 15 per cent, than general support for the monarchy.

Nevertheless, there is no agreement as to what these results actually mean.(50) The wording of questions continues to make quite a difference (which suggests that the wording of the referendum question may also be crucial to the outcome). Furthermore, there continues to be a substantial number of Australians, between 10 per cent and 17 per cent of the community, that is uncommitted.

The most favourable recent response in favour of the republic came from a poll commissioned by the ARM and conducted by Newspoll in January 1999. The question read:

The referendum later this year will propose to amend the Constitution to replace the Queen with an Australian Head of State chosen by a two-thirds majority of Parliament with the support of both sides of politics. This will very likely mean that the new Head of State will not be a politician. With this in mind will you yourself vote YES or will you vote NO in the referendum to make this change to the Constitution? The result was 58.3 per cent YES, 30.7 per cent NO and 10.8 per cent 'DON'T KNOW/REFUSED'.(51)

Major Participants in The Debate

The positions of those who will play a major role in the referendum debate have now almost all been made public. The processes are being led by the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, who has responsibility for the bills, and the Special Minister of State, who has responsibility for the conduct of the referendum itself, with the administrative support of the Referendum Taskforce. For further details see Appendix 5.

The Liberal Party is divided and there are both monarchists and republicans in about equal numbers among Cabinet ministers. The National Party is uniformly monarchist and the Labor Party is solidly republican. The Australian Democrats are republican and are currently deliberating further within their party on the merits of the referendum model versus popular election. State political leaders have generally declared their positions and most are republicans. For further details of all these party positions at both Commonwealth and State level, and those of the Greens and Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party see Appendix 5.

The major part of the advocacy in the debate will be carried out by committed community organisations. On the YES side these include the Australian Republican Movement, Conservatives for an Australian Head of State, members of the YES Coalition and a number of smaller republican groups. For further details of these organisations see Appendix 6. The NO side includes Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, Real Republicans, and the Returned Services League. For further details see Appendix 7.

Leading members of these organisations have come together in the YES and NO campaign committees. For further details, including staff, see Appendix 8

Important participants also include some uncommitted bodies, such as the Constitutional Centenary Foundation, which engages in public education and Issues Deliberation Australia, which will conduct a deliberative poll, Australia Deliberates: A Republic. Yes or No on 22-24 October 1999. For further details see Appendix 9.

Finally, there have been a number of individuals who have played a prominent role. Many of them are formally part of the advocacy groups and are discussed in this paper in that context, but some republicans, on both the YES and the NO side, are unattached. For details see Appendix 10.

Issues for Resolution during 1999

The Timing of the Referendum

It now appears almost certain that the referendum will be held on Saturday, 6 November.(52) The referendum legislation will be introduced about mid-year. The referendum must be held no less than two months and no more than six months after the legislation has passed.(53)

The Referendum Questions

The Prime Minister decided, early in 1999, that there would be two questions-one on the republic and one on a new preamble to the constitution.(54) Mr Howard announced that he would take a personal interest in the drafting of the Preamble. The Attorney-General would take responsibility for the Republic question. Coalition MPs were told at this time that the republic question would ask whether the 'Constitution should be altered to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with a president chosen by a two-thirds majority of Parliament'.(55) Each question's wording will be the final responsibility of Cabinet.

On 9 March the government released the Exposure Draft of the Constitution Alteration (Establishment of Republic) 1999 Bill for public comment by 16 April. The draft does not depart from the major recommendations of the Constitutional Convention in regard to the appointment and removal of the President, and his/her powers.(56) The same is true of the position of the states. Any state 'that has not altered its laws to sever its links with the Crown by the time the office of Governor-General ceases to exist retains its links with the Crown until it has so altered its laws'.(57) The bill addresses some additional matters, such as the positions of Acting President and Deputy President, and removes all references to the Queen and the Governor-General.

The proposed question has so far proved relatively uncontroversial, although Andrew Robb, for CAHS, has claimed that, by failing to mention the Queen, it 'includes a clever selection of words most likely to provoke a negative reaction from people at the very moment they go to vote'. Robb proposed an alternative wording along the following lines: 'A Bill for an Act to alter the Constitution to provide for an Australian citizen, chosen by a two thirds majority of a joint sitting of the Federal Parliament, to replace the British Monarch as Australia's head of state'.(58)

The Public Education Programme

The traditional paper versions of the YES and NO cases will be supplemented on this occasion by wider distribution, including on the Internet. Furthermore, the government has allocated $4.5 million funding to a separate public education programme.(59) This programme is likely to begin towards the end of May, peaking in September. It will include:

  • information on the current system of government
  • information on the referendum process, and
  • information on the actual questions.

The campaign will be advised by an advisory panel of experts, chaired by Sir Ninian Stephen and also including Professor Geoffrey Blainey, Dr Colin Howard QC, Professor Cheryl Saunders and Dr John Hirst.(60) The Newspoll organisation has been commissioned to survey the community's existing knowledge about the above questions.

The YES and NO Media Campaigns

There will also be a $15 million government funded media campaign organised by two ten-person teams drawn from the Constitutional Convention delegates.(61) These campaigns will occur in the month leading up to the referendum, after the conclusion of the government's public education campaign.

The Presidential Nominations Committee

The consultative committee, which if the referendum is successful will be responsible for recommending names to the prime minister, will have 32 members. It will be known as the Presidential Nominations Committee. Half of its membership will be politicians-eight from the federal parliament and eight from the states and territories. The Commonwealth members will be chosen on the basis of the representation of parties in the parliament. One state representative will be nominated by each state parliament or territory legislative assembly. The other 16 will be community representatives, who may not be parliamentarians, appointed by the prime minister (they could however be former parliamentarians).(62) One member of the committee will be appointed as the convenor.

On 9 March the Exposure Draft of the Presidential Nominations Committee Bill 1999 was released for public comment by 16 April.

Implications for the States

The major developments so far have been statements of personal position by state and territory leaders and MPs (see below). The implications for the states were discussed at the Premiers Conference in April 1999 but no resolution was reached.(63) However, if the referendum is passed it appears that all Australian governments are aiming for a simultaneous change to a republic on 1 January, 2001.(64)

Conclusion

It is too early to predict the shape of the referendum campaign, much less the outcome. The relevant bills have not yet been passed by the parliament and the campaign proper is yet to begin. We do not yet even know if the referendum will have one question or two. The media are still concentrating on other things and may well do so until October.

What we do know however that the publicly funded campaign for this historic referendum is likely to be the most expensive ever undertaken. The 1999-2000 Budget estimates that the referendum will cost the government $79 million. There will also be considerable privately funded campaigning. Judging by the campaign appointments made so far it will be fought with all the techniques of modern election campaigning. It will include large scale, centralised media and direct mail campaigns as well as local grass-roots activities. In scale it will be at least the equivalent in size of a federal election campaign, perhaps bigger.

Judging by the debate so far it will also be as divisive as any previous referendum. The arguments will be extremely wide-ranging, covering many aspects of the Australian political system, and there will be numerous participants. On both the YES and the NO sides there will be a variety of views expressed because each side is made up of a loose coalition of organisations. Because there is a great deal at stake it is likely that there will be no holds barred.

An important aspect of the campaigns, in addition to substantive arguments about the republic, will be the debate about whether the timing of the proposed change is appropriate and what will follow if the referendum where to be defeated. There are various views about this question.(65) The question of whether or not there will be another referendum in the foreseeable future, should this one be defeated, may well influence the outcome. Would a NO vote entrench the constitutional monarchy or lead the way to a popularly elected president or lead to another vote on the same republican model? Until we know the dimensions of the result on 6 November we can only speculate.

Endnotes

  1. M. McKenna, The Captive Republic: A History of Republicanism in Australia, 1788-1996, Cambridge University Press, 1996; D. Headon, J. Warden and B. Gammage eds, Crown or Country: The Traditions of Australian Republicanism, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1994.

  2. G. Dutton, ed., Australia and the Monarchy, Sun Books, 1966; G. Dutton ed., Republican Australia? Sun Books, 1977.

  3. J. Warhurst, 'Nationalism and Republicanism in Australia: The Evolution of Institutions, Citizenship and Symbols', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 28, 1993, pp. 100-20.

  4. C. Hide, 'The Recent Republic Debate-A Chronology', June 1996 in Department of the Parliamentary Library, The Constitution Papers, Parliamentary Research Service, Subject Collection No. 7, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1996; McKenna, 'The Captive Republic', Chapter 11; Constitutional Convention Report, vol. 1, Chapter 3.

  5. ibid., vol. 1, p. 13.

  6. 'Republic Advisory Committee An Australian Republic: The Options', vol. 1, The Report, Commonwealth of Australia, 1993.

  7. ibid., p. 10.

  8. M. Ryan, ed, Advancing Australia: The Speeches of Paul Keating, Prime Minister, Big Picture Publications, 1995, pp. 173-84.

  9. W. Hudson and D. Carter, eds, The Republicanism Debate, New South Wales University Press, 1993; S. Lawson and G. Maddox, eds, 'Australia's Republican Question', Special Issue, Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 28, 1993; G. Winterton ed., We, The People, Allen and Unwin, 1994.

  10. For an analysis of the 1996 elections see C. Bean, S. Bennett, M. Simms and J. Warhurst eds, The Politics of Retribution, Allen and Unwin, 1997.

  11. Australian Electoral Commission Constitutional Convention Election 97: The Australian Electoral Commission's Report and Statistics, Commonwealth of Australia, 1998.

  12. ibid., p. 18.

  13. ibid., p. 19.

  14. Australian Electoral Commission Constitutional Convention Election 97, pp. 33-4.

  15. Constitutional Convention Report, op. cit., pp. 58-60.

  16. G. Williams, 'Constitutional Convention,'; Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1998; S. Vizard, Two Weeks in Lilliput, Penguin, 1998.

  17. J. Curtin, 'The 1998 Women's Constitutional Convention', Research Note 21, Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1997-98.

  18. A. Rollins 'Women's meeting backs republic with enshrined rights', The Age, 31 January 1998.

  19. Constitutional Convention Report, vol. 1, p. 1.

  20. ibid., p. 43.

  21. ibid., p. 38.

  22. ibid., p. 38.

  23. ibid., p. 47.

  24. ibid., p. 49.

  25. ibid., p. 45; in general on this model see also Constitutional Centenary Foundation, Voting on a Republic, CCF, 1998.

  26. ibid., p. 44.

  27. ibid., p. 44.

  28. ibid., p. 44.

  29. ibid., p. 45.

  30. ibid., p. 45.

  31. See also Scott Bennett and Sean Brennan, 'Constitutional Referenda in Australia', Forthcoming Research Paper, Department of the Parliamentary, 1998-99.

  32. Constitutional Convention Report, vol. 1, p. 3.

  33. B. Galligan, A Federal Republic: Australia's constitutional System of Government, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 121.

  34. B. Galligan, 'The Politics of Constitutional Change' in M. Coper and G. Williams, eds, Power, Parliament and the People, The Federation Press, 1997, pp. 6-15; C. Saunders, 'The Australian experience with constitutional review', Australian Quarterly, vol. 66, no. 3, Spring 1994, pp. 49-66.

  35. B. Galligan and J. R. Nethercote, eds, The Constitutional Commission and the 1988 Referendums, Centre for Research on Federal Financial Relations and Royal Australian Institute of Public Administration (ACT Division), Canberra, 1989.

  36. Saunders, 'The Australian experience ...', op. cit., p. 54.

  37. Section 11 Distribution to Electors of Arguments For and Against Proposed Law.

  38. E. Campbell, 'Southey Memorial Lecture 1988: Changing the Constitution-Past and Future', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 17, no.1, June 1989, pp. 1-23; L. Lenaz-Hoare, 'The History of the 'YES/NO' Case in Federal Referendums, and a Suggestion for the Future', in Australian Constitutional Convention, Constitutional Amendment Sub-Committee, Report to Standing Committee, 1984, Appendix 5, pp. 85-93; C. Saunders, 'Referendum Procedures' in ibid, Appendix 7, pp. 111-7.

  39. Saunders, 'The Australian Experience ...', op. cit., p. 55.

  40. M. Goot, 'Monarchy or Republic? An Analysis of the Questions and Answers in Surveys of Australian Public Opinion', in Executive Government: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Constitutional Commission, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 1987; C. Bean, 'Public Attitudes on the Monarchy-Republic Issue', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 28, Special Issue, 1993, pp. 190-206; M. Goot, 'Contingent inevitability: Reflections on the prognosis for republicanism' in G. Winterton, ed, We, the People, op. cit., pp. 63-96.

  41. Opinion polls on an Australian republic: 1953-1999, Australian Republican Movement, http://www.republic.org.au/issues/pollsumm.html, 7 April 1999.

  42. L. C. Webb, Communism and Democracy in Australia: A Survey of the 1951 Referendum, Praeger, 1955.

  43. Bean, op. cit., p. 193, Table 1 'Attitudes towards the Monarchy-Republic Issue, 1967-1990 (in percentages)'.

  44. Bean, op. cit., pp. 196-201.

  45. Bean, op. cit., p. 1999.

  46. For instance, see Roy Morgan Research Centre, Australian Financial Review, 14 February 1998: YES 53 per cent; NO 39 per cent; 'UNDECIDED' 8 per cent.

  47. Newspoll, Australian, 10 February 1998.

  48. Australian, 11 February 1998.

  49. The Age, 26 January 1999; Australian, 3 March 1999.

  50. M. McKenna, 'Too early for polling pessimism', Australian, 1 March 1999.

  51. Newspoll Market Research, Job No. 990103, Republic Study, January 1999.

  52. Australian Financial Review, 13 May 1999.

  53. D. Williams, 'Republic Referendum: The Process Leading to the Referendum', video address to the National Convention of Republicans, 6 February 1999.

  54. 16 February 1999.

  55. Australian Financial Review, 17 February 1999.

  56. Constitutional Centenary Foundation, Analysis of the Constitution Alteration (Establishment of the Republic) Bill 1999 and the Presidential Nomination Committee Bill 1999, Melbourne, 1999.

  57. Exposure Draft, section 5 'The States'.

  58. A. Robb, 'An Australian Head of State ... a small, yet symbolic step', National Press Club, 29 March 1999, p. 4.

  59. Senator Chris Ellison, Senate Hansard, 29 March 1999.

  60. The Hon. Daryl Williams, Attorney-General, and Senator the Hon. Chris Ellison, Special Minister of State, 'Expert Panel for the Public Education Programme for the Referendum on the Australian Republic', Joint News Release, 20 April 1999.

  61. The Hon. Daryl Williams, Attorney-General and Senator the Hon Chris Ellison, Special Minister of State, 'Advertising for the referendum on the republic', Joint News Release, 16 February 1999, and 'Committees for the advertising for the referendum on the republic', Joint News Release, 19 February 1999.

  62. Australian Financial Review, 17 February 1999.

  63. L. Dodson, 'A state of concern about the fate of Governors', Australian Financial Review, 10 April 1999.

  64. Australian, 16 April 1999.

  65. J. Warhurst, 'Much to debate before November 6', Canberra Times, 15 May 1999.

 

Appendix 1: Delegates to the 1998 Constitutional Convention

1. Elected delegates (in order of election for each State and Territory)

New South Wales

1.

Mr Malcolm Turnbull (Australian Republican Movement)

2.

Mr Doug Sutherland (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

3.

Mr Ted Mack (Ted Mack)

4.

Ms Wendy Machin (Australian Republican Movement)

5.

Mrs Kerry Jones (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

6.

Mr Ed Haber (Ted Mack)

7.

The Hon Neville Wran AC QC (Australian Republican Movement)

8.

Cr Julian Leeser (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

9.

Ms Karin Sowada (Australian Republican Movement)

10.

Mr Peter Grogan (Australian Republican Movement)

11.

Ms Jennie George (Australian Republican Movement)

12.

Ms Christine Ferguson (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

13.

Mr Alasdair P Webster (Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group))

14.

Ms Glenda Hewitt (ungrouped-I Care About Australia's Future)

15.

Dr Pat O'Shane AM (A Just Republic)

16.

Brigadier Alf Garland AM (Australian Monarchist League)

17.

Mr Andrew Gunter (Ethos-Elect the Head of State)

18.

Ms Hazel Hawke (Australian Republican Movement)

19.

Mr Jason Yat-Sen Li (ungrouped-A Multi-Cultural Voice)

20.

Ms Catherine Moore (Greens, Bill of Rights, Indigenous Peoples)

Victoria

1.

Mr Eddie McGuire (Australian Republican Movement)

2.

The Hon Don Chipp AO (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

3.

The Reverend Tim Costello (Real Republic)

4.

Mr Bruce Ruxton AM OBE (Safeguard the People)

5.

Ms Mary Delahunty (Australian Republican Movement)

6.

Ms Sophie Panopoulos (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

7.

Mr Steve Vizard AM (Australian Republican Movement)

8.

Ms Poppy King (Australian Republican Movement)

9.

Mr Lindsay Fox AO (Australian Republican Movement)

10.

The Hon Vernon Wilcox CBE (Safeguard the People)

11.

Ms Moira Rayner (Real Republic)

12.

Ms Misha Schubert (Republic4U-The Youth Ticket)

13.

The Hon Jim Ramsay (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

14.

Mr Kenneth Gifford QC (Australian Monarchist League)

15.

Mr Phil Cleary (ungrouped-Phil Cleary-Independent Australia)

16.

Mr Eric G Bullmore (Shooters Party)

Queensland

1.

The Hon James Killen KCMG (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

2.

Dr Clem Jones (Clem Jones Queensland Constitutional Republic Team)

3.

The Hon Michael Lavarch (Australian Republican Movement)

4.

Dr Glen Sheil (Constitutional Monarchists)

5.

Mr Neville Bonner AO (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

6.

Mr David Alexander Muir (Clem Jones Queensland Constitutional Republic Team)

7.

Ms Sallyanne Atkinson AO (Australian Republican Movement)

8.

Mr Thomas Bradley (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

9.

Lady Florence Isabel Bjelke-Petersen (Constitutional Monarchists)

10.

Ms Mary Kelly (Women for a Just Republic)

11.

Ms Sarina Russo (Australian Republican Movement)

12.

Cr Paul Tully (Queenslanders for a Republic)

13.

Cr Ann Bunnell (Clem Jones Queensland Constitutional Republic Team)

Western Australia

1.

Ms Janet Holmes a Court AO (Australian Republican Movement)

2.

The Rt Hon Reg Withers (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

3.

Prof Peter Tannock (Australian Republican Movement)

4.

Mr Geoff Hourn (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

5.

Mr Graham Edwards (Australian Republican Movement)

6.

Ms Clare Thompson (Australian Republican Movement)

7.

Ms Marylyn Rodgers (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

8.

Mr Liam Bartlett (ungrouped-An Open Mind for the Future)

9.

Prof Patrick O'Brien (Elect the President)

South Australia

1.

Mr Kym Bonython AC DFC AFC (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

2.

Dr Baden Teague (Australian Republican Movement)

3.

The Right Reverend John Hepworth (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

4.

Ms Linda Kirk (Australian Republican Movement)

5.

Ms Victoria Manetta (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

6.

Dr Tony Cocchiaro (Australian Republican Movement)

7.

Father John Fleming (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

8.

Ms Kirsten Andrews (Australian Republican Movement)

Tasmania

1.

Mr Edward O'Farrell CVO CBE (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

2.

Mr Julian Green (Australian Republican Movement)

3.

Mr Michael Castle (No Republic-Australians for Constitutional Monarchy)

4.

Ms Marguerite Scott (Australian Republican Movement)

5.

Dr David Mitchell (The Australian Monarchist League)

6.

Mr Eric Lockett (ungrouped-Voice of Ordinary, Fair-Minded, Thinking Citizens)

Australian Capital Territory

1.

Ms Anne Witheford (Australian Repubican Movement)

2.

Mr Frank Cassidy (Australian Republican Movement)

Northern Territory

1.

Mr David Curtis (A Just Republic)

2.

Mr Michael Kilgariff (ungrouped-Territory Republican)

 

2. Appointed delegates-non-parliamentary

Ms Andrea Ang (WA)

Mr Donald McGauchie AC (VIC)

Ms Stella Axarlis (VIC)

The Hon Dame Roma Mitchell AC (SA)

Ms Dannalee Bell (VIC)

Mr Carl Moller (TAS)

Ms Julie Bishop (WA)

Cr Joan Moloney (QLD)

Prof Geoffrey Blainey AO (VIC)

Mr George Mye MBE AM (QLD/TAS)

Prof Greg Craven (WA)

Mr Ben Myers (QLD)

Ms Miranda Devine (NSW)

Ms Moira O'Brien (NT)

Mr Gatjil Djerrkura OAM (NT)

Dr Lois O'Donoghue CBE AM (SA)

Ms Mia Handshin (SA)

Sir Arvi Parbo AC (VIC)

The Hon Bill Hayden AC (QLD)

The Most Reverend George Pell (VIC)

The Most Reverend Peter Hollingworth AO OBE (QLD)

Ms Nova Peris-Kneebone OAM (NT/WA)

Ms Mary Imlach (TAS)

Mr Peter Sams (NSW)

Major General W B James AO MBE MC (QLD)

Prof Judith Sloan (SA)

Mr Adam Johnston (NSW)

Sir David Smith KCVO AO (ACT)

Mrs Annette Knight AM (WA)

Prof Trang Thomas AM (VIC)

Dame Leonie Kramer AC (NSW)

Mr Lloyd Waddy RFD QC (NSW)

Ms Helen Lynch AM (NSW)

Prof George Winterton (NSW)

The Hon Richard McGarvie AC (VIC)

Ms Heidi Zwar (ACT)

Commonwealth

Government

The Hon John Howard MP (Prime Minister)

The Hon Peter Costello MP (Treasurer)

The Hon Daryl Williams AM QC MP (Attorney-General)

Senator the Hon Robert Hill (Minister for the Environment)

Senator the Hon Jocelyn Newman (Minister for Social Security)

Mr Neil Andrew MP

Mrs Chris Gallus MP

Mr Kevin Andrews MP

Senator Alan Ferguson

The Hon Tim Fischer MP (Deputy Prime Minister)

The Hon John Anderson MP (Minister for Primary Industries and Energy)

Senator Ron Boswell (Leader of the National Party of Australia in the Senate)

Australian Labor Party

The Hon Kim Beazley MP (Leader of the Opposition)

The Hon Gareth Evans QC MP

Senator the Hon John Faulkner (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate)

Senator Sue West (Deputy President of the Senate)

Senator the Hon Nick Bolkus

Senator Kate Lundy

Australian Democrats

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Independent/Green

Mr Allan Rocher MP

State/Territory

NSW

The Hon Bob Carr MP (Premier)

The Hon Peter Collins QC MP (Leader of the Opposition)

The Hon Jeff Shaw QC MLC (Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations)

VIC

The Hon Jeff Kennett MLA (Premier)

Mr John Brumby MLA (Leader of the Opposition)

The Hon Pat McNamara MLA (Deputy Premier and Minister for Agriculture)

QLD

The Hon Rob Borbidge MLA (Premier)

Mr Peter Beattie MLA (Leader of the Opposition)

The Hon Denver Beanland MLA

(Attorney-General and Minister for Justice)

WA

The Hon Richard Court MLA (Premier)

Dr Geoffrey Gallop MLA (Leader of the Opposition)

The Hon Hendy Cowan MLA (Deputy Premier)

SA

The Hon John Olsen FNIA MP (Premier)

The Hon Michael Rann MP (Leader of the Opposition)

Mr Mike Elliott MLC (Leader of the Australian Democrats)

TAS

The Hon Tony Rundle MHA (Premier)

Mr Jim Bacon MHA (Leader of the Opposition)

Mrs Christine Milne MHA (Leader of the Tasmanian Greens)

Territories

Mrs Kate Carnell MLA (Chief Minister, ACT)

The Hon Shane Stone MLA (Chief Minister, Northern Territory)

Source: http://www.dpmc.gov.au/convention/delegate.htm

Appendix 2: Summary of Constitutional Referendums

Subject

Date

Government

Yes

States

Yes

Per cent

1

Senate Electionsa

Dec 1906b

Non-Labor

All

82.7

2

State Debtsa

Apr 1910b

Non-Labor

5

54.9

3

Finance

Apr 1910b

Non-Labor

3

49.0

4

Legislative Powersc

Apr 1911

Labor

1 (WA)

39.4

5

Monopoliesc

Apr 1911

Labor

1 (WA)

39.9

6

Trade and Commercec

May 1913b

Labor

3

49.4

7

Corporationsc

May 1913b

Labor

3

49.3

8

Industrial Mattersc

May 1913b

Labor

3

49.3

9

Trustsc

May 1913b

Labor

3

49.8

10

Nationalisation of Monopoliesc

May 1913b

Labor

3

49.3

11

Railway Disputesc

May 1913b

Labor

3

49.1

12

Legislative Powersc

Dec 1919b

Non-Labor

3

49.7

13

Nationalisation of Monopoliesc

Dec 1919b

Non-Labor

3

48.6

14

Industry and Commercec

Sep 1926

Non-Labor

2

43.5

15

Essential Servicesc

Sep 1926

Non-Labor

2

42.8

16

State Debtsc

Nov 1928b

Non-Labor

All

74.3

17

Aviationc

Mar 1937

Non-Labor

2

53.6

18

Marketingc

Mar 1937

Non-Labor

None

36.3

19

Reconstruction, Democratic Rights

Aug 1944

Labor

2

46.0

20

Social Servicesac

Sep 1946b

Labor

All

54.4

21

Marketing of Primary Productsc

Sep 1946b

Labor

3

50.6

22

Industrial Employmentc

Sep 1946b

Labor

3

50.3

23

Rents and Pricesc

May 1948

Labor

None

40.7

24

Communismc

Sep 1951

Non-Labor

3

49.4

25

Parliament

May 1967

Non-Labor

1 (NSW)

40.3

26

Aboriginalsac

May 1967

Non-Labor

All

90.8

27

Pricesc

Dec 1973

Labor

None

43.8

28

Incomesc

Dec 1973

Labor

None

34.4

29

Simultaneous Electionsd

May 1974b

Labor

1 (NSW)

48.3

30

Altering Constitution

May 1974b

Labor

1 (NSW)

48.0

31

Democratic Elections

May 1974b

Labor

1 (NSW)

47.2

32

Local Government Bodiesc

May 1974b

Labor

1 (NSW)

46.9

33

Simultaneous Electionsd

May 1977

Non-Labor

3

62.2

34

Senate Casual Vacanciesa

May 1977

Non-Labor

All

73.3

35

Referendumsa

May 1977

Non-Labor

All

77.7

36

Retirement of Judgesa

May 1977

Non-Labor

All

80.1

37

Terms of Senatorsd

Dec 1984b

Labor

2

50.6

38

Interchange of Powers

Dec 1984b

Labor

None

47.1

39

Parliamentary Terms

Sep 1988

Labor

None

32.9

40

Fair Elections

Sep 1988

Labor

None

37.6

41

Local Government

Sep 1988

Labor

None

33.6

42

Rights and Freedoms

Sep 1988

Labor

None

30.8

(a)

Referendum carried.

(b)

Held on same day as general election.

(c)

Referendum including a proposed amendment to section 51.

(d)

These three proposals were identical even though the titles varied.

Source: I. McAllister, Malcolm Mackerras, Alvaro Ascui and Susan Moss, Australian Political Facts, Longman Cheshire, 1990, p. 80.

Appendix 3: Opinion Polls on an Australian Republic

Opinion polls on an Australian republic: 1953-1999

Opinion polls on an Australian republic: 1953-1999

These graphs (bottom graph shows same in detail for the last 15 years) show the changing mood of the Australian people over the past 46 years on the issue of Australia retaining the monarchy or becoming a republic. Despite variations up and down, the increasing trend of support for a republic is undeniable and it is now clear that a majority of Australians want to see Australia become a republic.

Republic opinion poll data 1984-1999

Republic opinion poll data 1984-1999

Source: http://www.republic.org.au/issues/pollsumm.html

Appendix 4: Poll Data

Date

Pollster and (question)

Pro-republic %

Pro-monarchy %

Undecided

June 1953

Morgan Gallup Poll (a)

15

77

8

April 1966

Morgan Gallup Poll (b)

22

65

13

July 1966

Morgan Gallup Poll (b)

28

63

9

February 1968

Morgan Gallup Poll (b)

40

53

7

October 1969

Morgan Gallup Poll (a)

24

64

12

June 1970

Morgan Gallup Poll (c)

26

68

6

February 1973

Morgan Gallup Poll (a)

42

50

8

November 1973

Morgan Gallup Poll (c)

32

53

15

December 1975

Bulletin (a)

28

61

11

October 1976

Bulletin (a)

25

60

15

December 1976

Age (b)

39

58

3

April 1977

Bulletin (a)

26

62

12

December 1978

Sun Herald (a)

31

61

8

November 1979

Australian Public Opinion Polls-the Gallup Method (a)

31

61

8

April 1980

Age (b)

36

61

3

August 1981

Bulletin (a)

28

59

13

September 1982

Australian Public Opinion Polls-the Gallup Method (a)

30

60

10

January 1983

Bulletin (a)

28

60

12

January 1984

Bulletin (a)

30

62

8

February 1985

Age (a)

30

63

8

1984-85

National Social Science Survey (d)

41

59

0

April 1985

Quadrant (e)

30

62

8

March 1986

Frank Small & Associates (i)

36

45

16

1986-87

National Social Science Survey (d)

40

59

1

October 1987

Newspoll (e)

21

64

15

1987-88

National Social Science Survey (d)

41

59

0

1990

National Social Science survey (d)

41

58

0

June 1991

Newspoll (e)

34

52

14

February 1992

Saulwick (f)

57

39

4

March 1992

Newspoll (e)

44

40

16

April 1992

Saulwick (f)

56

42

3

May 1992

Newspoll (e)

41

45

14

March 1993

Saulwick (f)

66

30

4

April 1993

Newspoll (e)

46

35

19

April 1993

AGB McNair (e)

45

36

19

April 1993

Morgan (g)

52

38

10

April 1993

Morgan (h)

56

35

9

July 1993

Newspoll (e)

46

36

18

July 1993

Saulwick (f)

62

34

4

September 1993

Newspoll (b)

39

44

17

October 1993

AGB McNair (e)

48

42

10

November 1993

Newspoll (e)

39

44

17

December 1993

Morgan (h)

44

48

8

March 1994

Newspoll (e)

39

43

18

September 1994

Newspoll (e)

42

43

15

March 1995

Newspoll (e)

47

34

19

July 1995

Newspoll (e)

50

35

15

December 1996

AGB McNair (e)

55

38

7

February 1997

Newspoll (e)

47

28

25

June 1997

Newspoll (e)

49

30

21

September 1997

Newspoll (e)

54

30

16

November 1997

Newspoll (e)

52

33

15

December 1997

Constitutional Convention Election

57

34

9

December 1997

Newspoll (e)

51

35

14

February 1998

Roy Morgan (g)

52

37

11

January 1999

Newspoll (e)

48

35

17

February 1999

Newspoll (j)

58

31

11

Questions Asked

(a)

Retain the Monarchy or become a Republic?

(b)

Retain present links with the United Kingdom or become an entirely separate Republic?

(c)

At the end of the Queen Elizabeth's reign, should we recognise Charles as King or become a Republic with an elected President?

(d)

Should Australia retain the Queen as Head of State or become a Republic? ('Definitely' and 'Probably' figures combined in the table)

(e)

Should Australia become a Republic?

(f)

Should Australia remain a Monarchy within the (British) Commonwealth, become a Republic within the Commonwealth, or a Republic outside the Commonwealth? (Republic figure in the table is a composite of the latter two answers)

(g)

Should Australia remain a Monarchy or become a Republic with an elected President?

(h)

Should Australia remain a Monarchy or become a Republic by the year 2001?

(i)

Question not specified.

(j)

The referendum later this year will propose to amend the Constitution to replace the Queen with an Australian Head of State chosen by a two-thirds majority of Parliament with the support of both sides of politics. Will you vote YES or will you vote NO in the referendum to make this change to the Constitution?"

Source: G. Winterton, Monarchy to Republic: Australian Republican Government, Oxford University Press, 1994.

Figures since 1994 from The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald archives.

Source:Australian Republican Movement, http://www.republic.org.au/issues/pollsumm.html

 

Appendix 5: Governments and Political Parties

The Prime Minister

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has taken the position that parliamentary members of the Liberal Party will have a free/conscience vote at the time of the referendum, and they will be able to campaign freely in the lead up to the referendum vote. This position has since been extended to the National Party members of the Coalition. He has maintained his personal position in support of the status quo, while giving an undertaking not to campaign for either NO or YES.(1)

In January 1999 the Prime Minister wrote to the premiers asking for their commitment to help push through constitutional change simultaneously if the referendum passes.(2)

Attorney-General

The Attorney General, Daryl Williams, has responsibility for the carriage of the bills in the Parliament and chairs the Referendum Task Force (sometimes referred to as the referendum steering group).

On 19 February 1999 Williams announced the names of the two ten-member teams responsible for planning and managing national paid media campaigns to supplement the official YES and NO campaigns prior to the referendum.

The members of the YES team are: Malcom Turnbull, Janet Holmes a Court, Neville Wran, Lowitja O'Donoghue, Gareth Evans MHR, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Chris Gallus MHR, Jason Yat-Sen Li, Professor Greg Craven and Steve Vizard.

The members of the NO team are Kerry Jones, Cr Julian Leeser, Major-General "Digger" James, Senator Ron Boswell, Dame Leonie Kramer, Senator Alan Ferguson, Sir David Smith, Heidi Zwar, Ted Mack and Clem Jones. The first eight are monarchists while the last two are direct election republicans.

Each was given responsibility for half ($7.5 million) of the $15 million allocated for the national media component of the YES and NO cases. Guidelines, released in April by the Attorney-General, will apply to these campaigns which will be restricted to the month leading up to the referendum. Under the guidelines:

  • the committees must restrict their activities to the use of the Commonwealth government funding and cannot accept donations or raise other funds
  • competitive selection processes should be considered for work contracted out where this is feasible and there should be proper monitoring of the performance of contractors
  • records are to be made available for audit and are to be transferred in full to Prime Minister & Cabinet
  • the committees will be required to submit a proposed budget for consideration by the Ministerial Council on Government Communications; and
  • administrative costs are limited and committee members are only allowed travel expenses.(3)

The Special Minister of State

Senator Chris Ellison has responsibility for the conduct of the referendum by the Australian Electoral Commission and is the other ministerial member of the Referendum Task Force.

The Referendum Taskforce (RTF)

The RTF comprises the two ministerial members, staff members from the Prime Minister's office, the Attorney-General's office and the Special Minister of State's office and officials from the Attorney-General's Department.(4) The RTF is supported by a secretariat based in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It is composed of officers from PMC and the Attorney-General's department, assisted by AEC officials. Its convenor is John Doherty.(5)

Contact: Mr J. Doherty, convenor, Referendum Taskforce, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 3-5 National Circuit, Barton, ACT, 2600. Freecall: 13 24 47; Telephone: (02) 6271 5564; Facsimile: (02) 6271 5566. Email: referendum@dpmc.gov.au(6)

State Governments

While state governments have no formal role in the referendum process several of them have conducted their own inquiries (WA in 1995; SA in 1996).(7) All state premiers and opposition leaders and the territory chief ministers took part in the Constitutional Convention, where they adopted a range of positions in voting on the proposed models.

In 1999 several state leaders have declared their positions. Jim Bacon (Labor, Tasmania), Peter Beattie (Labor, QLD), Kate Carnell (Liberal, ACT), Bob Carr (Labor, NSW), Jeff Kennett (Liberal, Victoria) and John Olsen (Liberal, SA) support the YES case.(8) So do the Opposition leaders in Tasmania (Liberal) and Victoria, South Australia, ACT and NT (all Labor).

Richard Court (Liberal, WA) has reaffirmed his support for the NO case, but his deputy, Colin Barnett supports the YES case.(9) The two Opposition leaders who support the NO case are Rob Borbidge (National, QLD) and Kerry Chikarovski (Liberal, NSW), although Ms Chikarovski declined to confirm this during the March 1999 NSW election campaign.(10)

The Liberal Party

The Liberal Party reflects community divisions on the republic. It contains many declared monarchists, as well as the Prime Minister, including Cabinet ministers such as Dr David Kemp and Senator Nick Minchin, who had carried responsibility for the Constitutional Convention, and ministers such as Bronwyn Bishop and Tony Abbott.(11) Abbott has been the most outspoken monarchist and his address to the Queensland Young Liberals in January 1999, which described republicanism as 'a kind of national feel-good pill or constitutional Viagra, to be prescribed whether we need it or not', angered senior republicans in the party.(12)

Republican Liberals on the frontbench include the Treasurer, Peter Costello, Environment Minister, Robert Hill, and Finance Minister, John Fahey.

Peter Reith, Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, supports a popularly elected president and has announced that he will vote NO at the referendum.

There are a number of Liberal backbenchers who have contributed to the public debate. The Liberal MP on the official YES team is Chris Gallus, MHR for Hindmarsh, South Australia. Senator Marise Payne (NSW) was once Deputy National Convenor of the ARM. Senator Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Justice, spoke at the National Convention of Republicans. Senator Alan Eggleston (WA) has convened a group of parliamentary Liberals for the republic and has served as patron for the ARM in Western Australia.

The National Party

The National Party, led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer, formally supports the constitutional monarchy.(13) However, Fischer has stated that individual National Party MPs will be allowed a conscience vote.

Senator Ron Boswell, Leader of the National Party in the Senate, is a member of the official NO team.(14)

The Australian Labor Party

The ALP formally supports a republic and since June 1991 has been committed to a republic by 1 January 2001.(15) The party is committed to campaigning for a YES vote at the referendum and Kim Beazley has restated this position on a number of occasions this year.(16) A preliminary discussion has been held at the ALP National Executive as to whether the party should declare the republic to be a conscience vote for MPs and party members. The NO case will include rank and file members such as Clem Jones, an ALP life member, and Constitutional Convention delegate Paul Tully.(17)

The most prominent national Labor republicans are the Shadow Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, and former Deputy Leader, Gareth Evans, who is a member of the official YES team, and who drafted Labor's contribution to the Preamble debate. Graham Edwards MHR (Cowan, WA) was an elected ARM delegate to the Constitutional Convention prior to his entry into parliament.

The Australian Democrats

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (SA), Deputy Leader of the Democrats, is the most prominent spokesperson for the official pro-republican position of the Democrats and supports the YES case. She was a parliamentary delegate to the Constitutional Convention, spoke at the National Convention of Republicans and is a member of the official YES team. The Democrats advocate greater public participation in the process of constitutional reform and wanted the Constitutional Convention to be a fully elected body.(18)

Senator Andrew Murray (WA) has expressed some disquiet at the official Democrats position and has claimed that a directly elected president would make the executive more accountable.(19)

The party is currently balloting its members to elaborate its policy by adding specific items to its Constitutional Reform Policy on the question of choosing a Head of State.(20)

The Greens

The Greens have not been prominent in the debate and were not represented among Commonwealth parliamentary delegates to the Constitutional Convention, although the delegates included Christine Milne, then Leader of the Greens in the Tasmanian parliament and an elected NSW delegate, Catherine Moore. They are, in general, direct election republicans. Greens (WA) senator, Dee Margetts was critical of the Constitutional Convention process. She supports a further constitutional convention 'preceded by extensive community consultation' if the referendum is successful and, if it is unsuccessful, she advocates a plebiscite at the next federal election on the question 'Should Australia become a republic?'(21)

Pauline Hanson's One Nation (PHON)

Like the Greens PHON was unrepresented among parliamentary delegates to the Constitutional Convention and the party has not played a prominent role in the debate. In general, because of its commitment to traditional British ties, PHON appears to support the NO case. Pauline Hanson declared her opposition to a republic for the first time in July 1998.(22) Senator-elect Heather Hill has suggested that she will be voting against the new preamble.(23)

Endnotes

  1. 'PM promises no republic meddling', The Age, 18 December 1998.

  2. West Australian, 5 February 1999.

  3. Australian Financial Review, 13 April 1999.

  4. Senator Ellison, Hansard, 29 March 1999, pp. 3091-92. The members are Tony Nutt and Catherine Murphy (Prime Minister's office), Nick Grono and Simone Burford (Attorney-General's office) and Senator Ellison's Chief of Staff, Alastair Kinloch. They are being assisted by a number of officials including Henry Burmester, Chief General Counsel from Attorney General's, Robert Orr, Deputy General Counsel, Ian Govey and Sandra Power.

  5. The other members of the secretariat are Jim Faulkner, Wendy Southern, Nicholas Schofield, David Lewis, and from Prime Minister and Cabinet Alan Henderson. The AEC officials have included Bill Gray, the Commissioner, and Paul Dacey.

    Website: http://www.dpmc.gov.au/referendum

  6. The Report of the Western Australian Constitutional Committee, Malcolm McCusker Q. C.

  7. (chair), January 1995; The South Australian Constitutional Advisory Council, First Report, South Australia and Proposals for an Australian Republic, September 1996 and The Distribution of power between the three levels of government in Australia, and The Importance of Education and Consultation in Constitutional Reform, December 1996, (Assoc. Prof. Peter Howell, Chair).

  8. See Australian, 27 January 1999 (Olsen); Age, 28 January 1999 (Kennett); Canberra Times, 7 February 1999 (Carnell).

  9. West Australian, 10 February 1999.

  10. Sydney Morning Herald, 18 March 1999.

  11. For a representative Liberal monarchist position see R. Kemp 'Facing the Constitutional Debate' in K. Aldred, K. Andrews and P. Filing, eds, The Heart of Liberalism, The Albury papers, 1994, pp. 73-4.

  12. M. Gordon, 'A fistful of faith' The Age, 3 April 1999.

  13. Tim Fischer, General address, Report of the Constitutional Convention, vol. 3, pp. 247-50; John Anderson, General Address, Report of the Constitutional Convention, vol. 4, pp. 532-5.

  14. R. Boswell, 'Constitutional ''cage'' should remain shut', Australian, 8 January 1999.

  15. Australian Labor Party 1998, ALP Platform, pp. 139-40; see also Australian Labor Party 1994 Platform, Resolutions and Rules, pp. 58-9.

  16. K. Beazley, 'Best Chance for Republic', Sydney Morning Herald, 26 January 1999; K. Beazley, 'Debate must transcend party allegiances', Australian, 26 January 1999; K. Beazley, Address to CEDA, Pathways to the Future: A Labor Vision, Melbourne, 16 March 1999.

  17. Sydney Morning Herald, 23 February 1999.

  18. Senator Stott Despoja, Referendum Legislation Amendment Bill 1999, Second Reading, Senate Hansard, 29 March 1999, pp. 3045-8.

  19. A. Murray, 'Impeachable plan is anti-democratic', West Australian, 28 January 1999; 'Offer a choice on republic vote: Senator', West Australian, 13 January; A. Murray, 'A president by plebiscite or none at all', Australian, 30 December 1998.

  20. See 'Draft Ballot'; A. Murray, 'The Case for direct election'; and B. Austen, 'A Case against direct election', Making Policy, A Supplement to the National Journal of the Australian Democrats, February 1999, pp. 2-4.

  21. Senator Dee Margetts, 'Greens move to amend referendum bill', Media release, 24 March 1999.

  22. 'Hanson opposed to republic', Canberra Times, 23 July 1998.

  23. Canberra Times, 10 March 1999.

Appendix 6: YES Community Organisations

Australian Republican Movement (ARM)

The ARM is the main republican organisation.(1) It was founded on 7 July 1991, has branches in each state and territory, and maintains a secretariat in Sydney. It was the largest organised force at the 1998 Constitutional Convention and elected 27 delegates. Its national president is Malcolm Turnbull and its national campaign coordinator is former NSW Labor Premier, Neville Wran.

The elected ARM delegates were led by media personality Eddie McGuire (Vic), former Labor Attorney-General Michael Lavarch (Qld), businesswoman Janet Holmes á Court (WA), former Liberal Senator Baden Teague (SA), Julian Green (Tas), Anne Witheford (ACT) and Turnbull himself (NSW).

The ARM stands for the minimalist republican model and the Bipartisan Appointment of the President Model adopted by the Convention is a modified version of the ARM's preferred model that it brought to the convention.

Its chairman, Turnbull, has written:

There is only one fundamental issue in the republican debate: how long will Australia allow the highest office under its constitution, that of the monarch, the head-of-state, to be occupied by the kings and queens of another country, the United Kingdom?(2)

The official YES committee includes four ARM members, Turnbull, Wran, Steve Vizard and Janet Holmes á Court.(3)

Conservatives for an Australian Head of State (CAHS)

CAHS was formed by the former Federal Secretary of the Liberal Party, Andrew Robb, in January 1999.(4) It is a group of 12 leading conservatives, which includes businessmen Robert Champion de Crespigny and Charles Goode and academics and Constitutional Convention delegates, Prof Judith Sloan and Prof Greg Craven. The others are former Liberal MPs, Paul Everingham, Warwick Smith and Michael Yabsley, and Paul Houlihan, Michael Lishman, Deane Russell and Fiona Smith.

Its aim is to persuade conservatives that the minimalist position is a safe model for a republic, safer than direct election, which Robb says 'would be an unmitigated disaster'.(5) It plans to maintain its independence while working in collaboration with other republican organisations, such as ARM. It has raised some money and aims to share in public funding.

On 29 March 1999 the CAHS convenor, Andrew Robb, addressed the National Press Club. He outlined the CAHS position as follows:

[it] supports the minimal approach to the republic debate in only changing the head of state of Australia. We strongly oppose any attempt to undermine both State autonomy and the long-standing Parliamentary systems and conventions which currently apply. We support the outcome of the Constitutional Convention which appoints an Australian Head of State with no other changes to the way which we are governed. We will urge a YES vote at the referendum.(6)

One of its members, Craven, is on the official YES committee for the pre-referendum campaign.(7) CAHS also has announced a group of Friends who support its position.(8) The Friends include Doug Anthony, the former deputy prime minister and National Party leader, Don McGauchie, former president of the National Farmers Federation, and Rod McGeoch, chairman of the Committee of Sydney and a former member of SOCOG.(9)

'YES' Coalition (YC)

YC is a loose-knit organisation of all republican groups whose first manifestation emerged at the National Convention of Republicans (NCR), held in Canberra on 6-7 February 1999.(10) The aim of YC is to present a broad and united front of republicans-non-partisan and from all shades of republican opinion. It includes prominent direct election advocates, who will support the YES case, such as Rev. Tim Costello, ACT Chief Minister Kate Carnell, Rev. Dorothy McRae McMahon and Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.(11)

Following the NCR organised YCs emerged in most states and territories, beginning with the NSW YC which was launched on 18 February in Sydney.(12) These coalitions are usually comprised of a small ARM core plus other high-profile figures. The NSW YES coalition includes former tennis star, John Newcombe and Constitutional Convention delegate, Jason Yat-Sen Li, who was the No 1. Senate candidate for the Unity Party at the October 1998 federal election.(13)

Smaller Republican Groups

  • A Just Republic stands for 'A Just republic, Not just a republic!' Its larger agenda includes a Bill of Rights, Prior Ownership, a Directly Elected President, and Ongoing Constitutional Reform, but on this occasion it supports a YES vote. In the elections for the Constitutional Convention it stood candidates in NSW (including Pat O'Shane and Dorothy McRae-McMahon), ACT and NT.(14)
  • Women for an Australian Republic is a 'virtual' group convened by Sarah Brasch. It argues for equal representation of women on all committees, short lists, etc. concerned with the election of the president.(15)
  • Youth for an Australian Republic is a national organisation that also emphasises electronic communication amongst its members. Previously known as 'YES YOUTH' its representatives spoke at the National Convention of Republicans. In campaigning for a YES vote its target is young people and its aim is to enliven constitutional debate with slogans such as 'Put the Pub back in Republic'.
  • The Campaign for the Popular Election of the Australian President was set up in 1995 by the Republican Party of Australia, a tiny party led by Peter Consandine. It 'reluctantly' advocates a YES vote and is organising a 'write-on' campaign in which it advises its supporters to write P.E.P (popularly elected president) on their ballot papers.(16),(17)

Endnotes

  1. For further information see Australian Republican Movement 'Declaration by Republicans for a YES Vote for Australian Head of State', 25 January 1999; S. Vizard, Two Weeks in Lilliput, Penguin, 1998; M. Turnbull, The Reluctant Republic, William Hienemann Australia, 1993; T. Keneally, Our Republic, William Hienemann Australia, 1993; J. Hirst, A Republican Manifesto, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1994.

  2. 'Addressing the Republic' in D. Headon, et al eds, Crown or Country.

  3. Contact: Australian Republican Movement

    http://www.republic.org.au; Email: republic@ozemail.com.au PO Box A870 Sydney South NSW 1235

    FreeCall 1800 80 2000; Facsimile: (02) 9267 8155.

  4. Australian, 25 January 1999.

  5. ibid.

  6. Frank Crews, 'Republic Debate Continues', Media release, National Press club, 8 March 1999; A. Robb, Convenor, Conservatives for an Australian Head of State, 'An Australian Head of State ... a small, yet symbolic step', Address to the National Press Club, 29 March 1999.

  7. G. Craven, 'No room for two at the top', Australian, 5 February 1999; G. Craven, 'New setting for timeless jewel', Australian Financial Review, 3 March 1999; G. Craven, 'Safety First', The Adelaide Review, 186, March 1999.

  8. M. Grattan, 'Robb to become republic's 'YES' man', Sydney Morning Herald, 30 March 1999.

  9. Contact: Conservatives for an Australian Head of State, GPO Box 3955, Sydney NSW 2001; Telephone (02) 9233 2156; Facsimile: (02) 9371 7820.

  10. National Convention of Republicans, A Declaration, Canberra, 7 February 1999.

  11. See, for instance, T. Costello, 'Why, with doubts, I back this republic', The Age, 13 January 1999.

  12. Australian Financial Review, 17 February 1999.

  13. Contact: For the papers from the National Convention of Republicans see

    http://www.act.republic.org.au/ncr/

  14. Contact: PO Box 3779, Manuka 2603, ACT.

    Email: ajract@hotmail.com

  15. See www.womenrep.dynamite.com.au Contact: Email: womenrep@dynamite.com.au

  16. Campaign for the Popular Election of the Australian President 'Australian Republic: to be or not to be?', Summer 1999.

  17. Contact National Secretariat: PO Box 843, Castle Hill, NSW, 1765; Ph. 02-9899 5590; Email: ozrepublic@hawknet.com.au; see www.hawknet.com.au/-ozrepublic

 

Appendix 7: NO Community Organisations

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy

ACM is the main monarchist organisation.(1) Its first organisers were Lloyd Waddy, a leading Sydney lawyer, and Michael Kirby, President of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of NSW. It was launched at a public meeting on 2 June 1992. Its Foundation Charter Council included: Sir Harry Gibbs, former Chief Justice of the High Court; Dame Leonie Kramer, Chancellor of Sydney University; Doug Sutherland, former (Labor) Lord Mayor of Sydney; Justice Michael Kirby, President of the NSW Court of Appeal (now High Court Justice); Sir John Atwill, former Federal president of the Liberal Party; former Senator, Neville Bonner; artist Margaret Olley; NSW MLC Helen Sham-Ho; Margaret Valadian; Gareth Grainger; Stephen Hall; Vahoi Naufahu; and Barry O'Keefe QC.(2)

It also maintains a secretariat in Sydney and has branches in each state and territory. Its first executive director, in June 1993, was Tony Abbott, now Liberal MHR for Warringah, NSW, and Minister for Employment Services in the Howard government. John Howard himself spoke at one of ACM's early rallies and has always been a supporter.

It elected 19 delegates to the Constitutional Convention on a 'No Republic-ACM' ticket, including Doug Sutherland, NSW, the Hon. Don Chipp, Vic., the Hon. James Killen, QLD, The Rt Hon Reg Withers, WA, and Kym Bonython, SA. Other leading members, such as Lloyd Waddy and Sir David Smith, former Secretary to the Governor General, were among the appointed delegates.

Its main spokespersons, since March 1994, have been its convener, Lloyd Waddy, and its executive director, Kerry Jones. Waddy withdrew from active campaigning in June 1998, when he was appointed a judge of the Family Court. Jones, Smith and Councillor Julian Leeser are among the members of the official NO committee.

Its position is support for the constitutional monarchy and opposition to an Australian republic. The ACM

focuses on the defects in the various models of republics as alternatives to our current working system of government; the problems with each of the methods advanced for appointing and dismissing a president, exposing the powers a president would have, and the dangers inherent in replacing the Governor-General as our non-political Head of State, which only the Crown can ensure, with a powerful political president'.(3)

Sir David Smith has been a consistent public advocate of the status quo, debating Australian constitutional history (especially in regard to the 1975 constitutional crisis) and taking issue with Sir Anthony Mason on constitutional matters. He has argued the case, in particular, for the independent role of the Governor-General as the Australian Head of State.(4),(5)

Real Republicans (RR)

RR is the name appropriated early in 1999 by those direct election republicans committed to supporting the NO case (the name was originally used by the ticket that elected Constitutional Convention delegates Tim Costello and Moira Rayner in Victoria). Now it is the name for an organisation created by Phil Cleary (Victoria), Clem Jones (Queensland) and Ted Mack (NSW) who were among those direct election republicans that had earlier joined forces as delegates at Constitutional Convention.(6) Bill Hayden has indicated that he will support the RR campaign.(7)

RR supports various models for direct election of the president. Mack favours a US-style presidency, Jones a president with executive powers, and Cleary favours an Irish-style president with only 'cultural, symbolic and moral' authority.(8) They argue that defeat of the YES case is necessary to enable the later passage of a referendum for a popularly elected president.(9)

Jones and Mack are members of the committee to run the NO campaign prior to the referendum. Peter Reith met publicly with Ted Mack to offer his support and has indicated his intention to campaign against the referendum in November.(10)

Returned Services League (RSL)

The RSL has been the most determined opponent of any move towards a republic. For the League, Australian national identity is inseparable from the British connection and the monarchy. As the League's historians have written of its values as imperial loyalists: 'The links with Britain and the symbols of loyalty-monarchy, flag, and anthem-are to be defended and sustained'.(11) Consequently one of its standing policies has been 'That any move to change Australia into a republic be opposed.(12) RSL leaders have consistently put this position publicly and identified themselves as monarchists. At the Constitutional Convention there were three RSL voices, all of them monarchists. There were two past National presidents, Major General James, one of the appointed delegates, and Brigadier Alf Garland, an elected member (Australian Monarchist League, Victoria) as well as the present Victorian state president, Bruce Ruxton.

Endnotes

  1. For further information see G. Grainger and K. Jones, eds, The Australian Constitutional Monarchy, 1994; K. Jones, The works: why mess with it?', Australian, 28 January 1999; K. Jones, The ACM Handbook: Key Facts and Opinions for the Republic Debate in Australia, ACM Publishing, 1996; The Australian Constitution: Essential Documents in Australian Constitutional History to be read in conjunction with the 'ACM Handbook', ACM Publishing, 1997; T. Abbott, The Minimal Monarchy: and why it still makes sense for Australia, Wakefield Press, 1995; T. Abbott; How to Win the Constitutional War and give both sides what they want; Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and Wakefield Press, 1997.

  2. The ACM Handbook, op. cit., pp. 4-5.

  3. The ACM Handbook, p. 2.

  4. Sir David Smith, 'The head of state', in G. Winterton, ed., We, The People, op. cit., pp. 152-65; 'The G-G is not a delegate of the Queen', Letter to the Editor, Canberra Times, 16 January 1999; 'An Open Letter to the Attorney-General', Press Release, 5 January 1999.

  5. Contact: Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, GPO Box 9841, Sydney, NSW, 2001. Telephone: (02) 9231 2200 or FreeCall: 1800 622 229. Facsimile: (02) 9231 2359.

  6. S. Jackson, 'Rebels in the Ranks', Australian, 16 January 199?

  7. C. Dore, 'Hayden will back rebel republic campaign', Australian, 8 January 1999.

  8. Australian, 23 January 1999.

  9. T. Mack, 'Giving power to the People', Sydney Morning Herald, 24 December 1998; T. Mack, 'Undue haste could undermine a unique opportunity', Australian, 27 January 1999; T. Mack, 'Democratic ideal transcends minority fascist smear', Australian, 23 February 1999; P. Cleary, 'The end of the republic', The Age, 8 January 1999.

  10. L. Wright, 'Reith sticks with directly elected president', Canberra Times, 14 March 1999.

  11. P. Sekuless and J. Rees, Lest We Forget: The History of the Returned Services League, 1916-1986, Rigby, 1986, p. 6.

  12. Returned Services League RSL Handbook:75th Anniversary Issue 1991, Sydney, 1991, 17.18, p. 150.

 

Appendix 8: The YES and NO Campaign Organisations

The YES campaign committee

The YES Committee, appointed by the government to manage the $7.5 million government-funded campaign, has announced the appointment of a campaign committee. Its composition, which goes beyond Constitutional Convention delegates is Malcolm Turnbull (chair), Peter Barron, former political adviser to Bob Hawke, and Neville Wran, (deputy chair), Andrew Robb, and Karin Sowada, ARM Constitutional Convention delegate and former Australian Democrats senator for NSW.(1)

The national campaign director is Greg Barns, who will leave his position as chief of staff of John Fahey, the Minister for Finance, from the end of May.(2) Public opinion polling will be the responsibility of Liberal Party pollster, Mark Textor, while the advertising campaign is likely to be the responsibility of John Singleton, who has in the past worked on Labor party election campaigns.(3)

Overall this membership is notably bipartisan and cross-group, but with strong ARM representation. It also represents considerable political expertise drawn from high-level participation in recent national election campaigns.

The NO campaign committee

The NO campaign committee, about which less is known at the time of writing, is chaired by the ACM's Kerry Jones.(4) Its campaign director is David Elliott, former press secretary to former NSW Liberal leader Peter Collins and previously research officer to John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop.(5)

Endnotes

  1. Australian Financial Review, 12 April 1999; Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 1999.

  2. Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 1999.

  3. Australian, 30 March 1999; Senator John Faulkner has been critical of Textor's appointment on the grounds that it was 'inappropriate' for pollsters on either side of party politics to be involved, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 April 1999.

  4. Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 1999.

  5. M. Grattan, 'Collins staffer for NO vote', Sydney Morning Herald, 1 April 1999. This report suggests that Elliott has been appointed the ACM's national campaign director. The distinction between the two is unclear as yet.

Appendix 9: Educational Organisations

Constitutional Centenary Foundation (CCF)

The CCF is an independent but (Commonwealth and state) government-sponsored organisation committed to public education on constitutional questions.(1) Founded after a Constitutional Centenary Conference in April 1991 it maintains a secretariat in Melbourne and has close links with Professor Cheryl Saunders' Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne University. Saunders is deputy chair and the driving force. CCF's current chair is the ABC chair, Donald McDonald, who replaced Sir Ninian Stephen early in 1998.

The CCF is strictly neutral and non-partisan. It produces educational materials, such as an annotated constitution,(2) and conducts public forums and historical re-enactments. It pioneered the idea of modern constitutional conventions. As well as floating the idea of a people's convention, prior to its adoption by the Liberal Party, it has sponsored and conducted schools conventions for a number of years and local constitutional conventions around Australia in 1997-98.

In 1998 it conducted a competition to design a new Preamble, and launched its ideas at the National Press Club on 24 February 1999.(3) The CCF's report was later presented to the Prime Minister.(4)

Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA)

IDA is an organisation, established to facilitate public consultation and debate about major political issues, that will conduct a Deliberative Poll on the referendum issue in Canberra on 22-24 October. It was founded by Dr Pam Ryan, an Adelaide academic with over 13 years experience working at the University of Texas with Dr James Fishkin, the originator of the idea of deliberative polling.

This event, Australia Deliberates: A Republic. Yes or No?, will involve a random sample of about 300 Australian citizens who will spend a weekend discussing the issues with each other, experts and political leaders. Their opinions will be surveyed before and after to see what impact the discussion has had. The event has the support of both the YES and NO organisations, will be televised by the ABC, and is also supported by The Australian newspaper and the Australian National University.(5),(6)

Endnotes

  1. J. Warhurst, 'The Constitutional Centenary Foundation and the politics of constitutional reform', Australian Quarterly, vol. 67, no. 3, Spring 1995, pp. 40-51.

  2. The Australian Constitution, Annotated text by Cheryl Saunders, Constitutional Centenary Foundation, Melbourne, 1997.

  3. Constitutional Centenary Foundation, 'We the people of Australia ... Ideas for a new preamble to the Australian Constitution', CCF, February 1999.

  4. Contact: Constitutional Centenary Foundation, Level 2-723 Swanston St, Carlton, Victoria; 3053, Telephone: (03)-9349 1846 Facsimile: (03) 9349 1779

    Email: ccf2001@ibm.net Web Site: http://www.centenary.org.au

  5. Issues Deliberation Australia, News Conference, NSW Parliament House Press Gallery, 2 May 1999; M. Steketee 'Educated guests welcome the debate', Australian, 3 May 1999; G. Greene, 'Forum may point way to a republic', Age, 4 May 1999.

  6. Contact: Pam Ryan: Ph: 08 8295 6112/0414 295 611; Email: pamryan@aol.com

Issues Deliberation Australia, 28 South Esplanade, P.O. Box 19, Glenelg, SA, 5045.

 

Appendix 10: Some Additional Public Figures

There have been a number of important contributions to the debate from persons not aligned to a particular community organisation. They include:

  • Professor Alan Atkinson, of the Department of History at the University of New England, is the author of The Muddle-Headed Republic (1993), which stresses the distinctive Australian character of the monarchy.(1)
  • Dr Mark McKenna, author of The Captive Republic (1996), has been a significant advocate of the YES case in newspaper articles and public addresses.(2) He has contributed to the debate about the Preamble and his contribution was one of those chosen by the CCF's Preamble Quest.(3) He is a member of the Political Science Program at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University.
  • Sir Anthony Mason, formerly Chief Justice of the High Court, joined with McKenna and four leading legal scholars to propose to the Attorney-General a model for the public nomination process.(4) He is a Visiting National Fellow at the Law School, Australian National University.
  • Mr Les Murray, the distinguished poet, was asked by the Prime Minister to assist him in drafting the preamble. Murray has long been a republican and was a contributor to G. Dutton ed, An Australian Republic? (1977).(5)
  • Dr Jocelynne Scutt, feminist barrister, is a direct election republican who has not joined the Real Republicans. Rather, under the banner of Real Republicans, she advocates writing 'YES to a directly elected president' on the ballot paper.(6)
  • Rt Hon. Ian Sinclair, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and former Leader of the National Party, has spoken in favour of the republic.(7) He subsequently agreed to chair the National Convention of Republicans in February 1999.
  • Mr David Solomon, political and legal commentator, has advocated a directly elected, US style president for almost twenty-five years, since he wrote Elect the Governor-General!(8)
  • Professor George Winterton, Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, was an appointed delegate to Constitutional Convention. He is the author of the classic text on Australian republican government, Monarchy to Republic: Australian Republican Government (1986).(9)

Endnotes

  1. Oxford University Press, 1993.

  2. E. G. M. McKenna, 'How the PM hijacked the soul of the republic', The Age, 11 March 1999; 'Rhetoric obscures wisdom of bipartisan model', Australian, 20 January 1999.

  3. CCF, 'We the people of Australia', p. 15.

  4. M. McKenna, Sir Anthony Mason, A. Stone, G. Williams, J. Williams and G. Winterton, 'President must be the people's choice', Australian, 16 December 1998; M. McKenna, 'Picking a chief: chapter and verse', Canberra Times, 26 December 1998.

  5. L. Murray, 'The Flag Rave', in G. Dutton, ed., Republican Australia?, op. cit., pp. 106-19.

  6. S. Powell, 'Ms Republic', Australian, 10 March 1999.

  7. 'Sinclair prods PM over the Republic', Sydney Morning Herald, 24 December 1998.

  8. D. Solomon, Elect the Governor-General!, Nelson, 1976; Coming of Age, University of Queensland Press, 1998.

  9. Oxford University Press, 1986; Reprinted with a new introduction, Oxford University Press, 1994.

 

 
 

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